Sunday, May 4, 2008

Buenos Aires: the Paris of South America

When I first visited Buenos Aires in 2003, it was common knowledge that the economy had recently suffered a debilitating blow, that the country had defaulted on its national debt and that the unemployment rate was soaring.  Since I am by nature a contrarian, this was part of my motivation for going.  Although my expectations were somewhat tamed by media coverage about the economic and social problems, I had hoped to enjoy the city’s charms and the value of its currency which had devalued by about 70% from its previous level.  In fact, I was “wowed” to find a vibrant world-class city, full of sophisticated, well-dressed and happy people, historic beautiful neighborhoods with lush green parks and public monuments, wide-open boulevards lined with buildings boasting some of the finest architecture I had ever seen.  I was also enthralled with the great shopping… markets…. music…. dancing…. wonderful food, wines and entertainment.  I knew then why they call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America, at a third of the price here in the States and an even larger value discrepancy in comparison to the major European cities.

My enchantment with the city prompted my interest to learn more about the local real estate market. The more I learned, the more convinced I became that there was a huge opportunity, that prices were extremely low compared to other leading cities and with the economy and tourism rebounding strongly, many elements of risk had already greatly subsided.  I was determined to take action.

My vision has indeed been realized by my companies (InvestProperty Group and DPEC Partners) in the creation of a Buenos Aires luxury boutiquehotel, “Algodon Mansion”, and then later a very beautiful wine and golf resort (where wine lovers can buy Mendoza vineyards for sale), “Algodon Wine Estates” in San Rafael- the southern heart of Mendoza, where life is good.

- Scott Mathis 

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